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Denmark is putting more than a quarter of a million residents locked up after the discovery of coronavirus outbreaks in farmed weasels, including a mutant strain.
The government has announced some restrictions on the regions of northern Denmark, the area most affected by the epidemic. Two days ago, the officials ordered the killing of weasels, a total of 17 million.
Restaurants in these areas are closed to the public. Public transport in the area was stopped. The rallies are for the most part limited to 10 participants. Colleges are instructed to switch to online classes with a few exceptions.
The regional health agency said it was preparing to test for the coronavirus virus on 280,000 residents in the affected areas.
Mutant strains Has not been found to be more dangerous than coronavirus, but Danish officials warn that it appears to have a weak response to antibodies. This may affect the effectiveness of the vaccine in the future.
According to the World Health Organization, 12 people have been diagnosed with the mutant virus so far. About 200 coronavirus cases in general can be traced back to being exposed to weasels in Denmark.
Maria van Kerkhove, WHO technical team leader on COVID-19, called zoonotic transmission “a concern” during a WHO briefing on Friday.
However, she emphasized that the virus frequently mutated and the organization monitored the changes from the very beginning.
“It is too early to really draw conclusions about what specific mutants may have,” WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said during the meeting. “I don’t think we should make any conclusions about whether this particular mutation affects a vaccine’s effectiveness. We don’t have any evidence at this time.”
However, Danish officials are taking prompt containment measures. Kåre Mølbak, director of infectious diseases at Denmark’s State Serum Institute, warns a mutant strain could complicate the global fight against coronavirus.
“The worst case scenario is that we will start a new pandemic in Denmark,” Mølbak said, according to The Guardian. “There is a risk that this mutant virus is so different from others that we have to put new things into the vaccine, and thus [the mutation] will bring us all over the world back to the way we were, ”
The WHO said in a statement to the NPR that it is developing control measures to stop the spread of mink-related strains beyond northern Denmark.
The UK said on Friday it would ask tourists from Denmark to quarantine themselves for 14 days due to a mink outbreak.
Denmark, the world’s largest supplier of mink feathers, is offering to compensate breeders in exchange for their destruction.
But it was a blow to the industry, Tage Pedersen, president of the Danish mink breeders association, said.
“It was a dark day for all of us and for Denmark as well,” said Pedersen, according to The Guardian. “Of course, we don’t want to be the cause of another pandemic, but the government’s decision is a disaster for our industry and Denmark. In fact, it’s a permanent shutdown. and the liquidation of the fur industry. “